Saturday, April 23, 2011

books about feelings and shaksuka pizza

"The other women discovered not only that she was from Barnard... summa cum laude, parbleu!... but that she had the most adorable little cracked voice, like a boy's. It was perfect with her hair, so short and boyish too, and by the end of the second week three of the teachers were writing passionate notes to her."
-MFK Fisher

Ah, is there anything like picking up a book that you had previously discarded as inert and finding, well, yourself? I am loving The Measure of Her Powers. All of the stories are about somebody paying too much attention to their senses, which is how I feel basically all the time, so it's both a intimate window into someone's beautiful life and a private validation of feeling and noticing (too) many things.

Reminds me of a production of In the Next Room that has been haunting me since I saw it a few weeks ago-- something about two-thirds-finished women and a race of poets. A therapist once told me that I have "a certain capacity for emotionally intense states" and I think that's right. I think Sarah Ruhl's characters do too-- not in a stylized manic pixie dreamgirl kind of way but the kind of way that feels genuinely radical. Which is all to say that I was rereading some old entries and I am a little sick of my refrain that I am some kind of failure at adulthood. Unfinished paintings, Ruhl's painter says, are truer to life and nearer to God.

I think in the age we live in, raw emotional intimacy is far more radical than physical intimacy or selling sex, which we see on every block. We see radical emotional intimacy far less frequently.
-- Sarah Ruhl

Anyway, I have no good segue, except that I invented a really good pizza. It's based on the Israeli egg dish shakshuka, which are eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. Ideally, of course, you make your own tomato sauce. I've even said on here that there's no reason not too. But listen, even a jarred-tomato-sauce hater like me sometimes has some in the house and wants to make a pizza and doesn't know what to put on it. Eggs. The answer is eggs.


--Pizza dough
--Tomato sauce (homemade or otherwise)
--Garlic, one or two cloves minced
--Red pepper flakes or chopped hot peppers. You could also use jalepeno or anaheim chiles (I used about 2 T worth of dried Japan peppers, chopped)
--Olive oil

+ Preheat the oven as hot as it will go.
+ Heat a little bit of oil with the garlic and pepper. If you do this in a cast iron skillet you can use that as your pizza stone: bingo. You don't need too much oil, just enough to give the spicy stuff a medium. You could probably skip this step and just use some hot sauce for some legit semihomade style Sandra Lee action. But it is really fast to make your own "hot sauce" so. yeah.
+ Then stretch you dough, spread LIBERALLY with tomato sauce and the spicy garlic oil. The eggs will get less rubbery if they are nestled in the tomato sauce, so use way more than you would for a normal cheese pizza. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes.
+ Then crack 2 eggs on top. Bake for another 8 minutes or so, until the whites are set.

Friday, April 22, 2011

overnight pizza dough

Well my dears, the dust has settled. All projects (except, you know, the long term phd-y ones) are done and I have gone back to buying root vegetables and whole grains after a month or two or three of 4 dollar kombucha and bagels from the coop. In some ways its good-- more food out of the house means more time out of the house might mean making meaningful theatre-things happen or at least interacting with other human beings not through a screen (BOWLING TOGETHER). But it also means I look at my bank account and am like-- 30 dollars at Rock Bottom? TWICE IN A WEEK?

None of this, though, is news to the army of thoughtful diligent people who get home at 5 every day or live in a major city where takeout is a thing. Such folks, I imagine, have have already figured out how to calibrate the line between spending a whole day making a cake and hoping that there will be snacks at an art opening to eat for dinner. But some of us are still figuring out the sweet spot between extreme homebodydom and eating fake Mexican food at sad chains, ok?

If necessity is the mother of invention, then I am glad that my navel-gazing post-adolescent search for both a homemade life and a performance-person's schedule led me to this pizza dough. It is really wonderful and keeps for a few days so that you can bake off a quick pizza whenever.

Pinapple feta, cheddar&peas&hotsauce. This recipe makes enough pizzas that you can figure out new and cool and weird toppings your own damn self. Do try a simple pineapple/feta pizza though, especially if you are a fruit on pizza naysayer-- this combo recently converted me.

Overnight Pizza Dough
(makes enough for 6 big personal pizzas, but you can freeze some)
(adapted a little from Peter Reinhardt via 101 cookbooks)

+ 4 1/2 cups flour
+ 1 3/4 t salt
+ 1 t instant yeast
+ 1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil
+ 2 c water

-- Combine ingredients and stir/flop your hand around in the bowl until the dough comes together.

-- Knead for as long as you can stand it. 7 minutes? The dough should be tacky and almost sticky and have that awesome elasticity and sheen that dough gets when you knead it right. Yes! If not add more water. If it is too wet and sticks to the bottom of the bowl add a little more flour.

-- Cut the dough into 6 blobs and coat them well with olive oil. Let them hang out on a baking sheet in the fridge overnight covered with plastic wrap. They will keep in the fridge for like 3 days. If you aren't going to eat 6 pizzas in 3 days (uhhh) you can freeze the blobs in plastic wrap after a day, no bigs.

-- OK crash for the evening and get up and run errands that you have been putting off for months and tell embarrassingly personal anecdotes in class because you are sleep deprived and daydream about the future. Is it dinnertime? Go home and take a pizza blob out of the fridge. Make sure it is still greased-up and not all dry and cracky. If its dried out a little that's fine, but not the Platonic Pizza Ideal. Flatten it into a disc and let it hang out for up to 2 hours. If you are hungry NOW and can only wait until the oven preheats, well, that's between you and yer stomach. I for one couldn't taste a difference.

-- Crank the oven up to 500 and stick your cast iron pan or pizza stone inside. Stretch the dough over your fists and toss it around until it is the thinness that you want it. I find that stretching a blob to fit a 12 inch iron skillet is usually right on.

-- Once the oven is hot, lay down some cornmeal on your baking surface (the pan or the back of a baking sheet or a peel that you will transfer to your pizza stone, you bougie jerk who owns a pizza peel). Stretch out that dough one last time and dress your pizza up right. Into the oven for 8 minutes, until the crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sein & Zeit

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."

-Charles Baudelaire

Sunday, April 3, 2011


For some reason, this is the actual color of the camera on my computer right now. In the spirit of this beautiful post.

What I am avoiding:
Washing the kitchen floor. Organizing my pantry and all the groceries I bought yesterday so that they aren't balanced precariously. Making dinner for next week. Laundry (antislob campaign). Buying new shirts or perhaps shorts (anti schlub campaign). Translating Aristophanes and reading about blackface. Finishing up a paper to submit, editing all the fiddly Greek fonts and making sure my argument still makes sense. Making sure that my car still works after my tire exploded yesterday, which I suppose entails buying a new spare and getting my alignment checked.

How I am doing it:
Made risotto for a little potluck tonight. Honestly, real stock is an absolute joy and it was definitely time to spend an afternoon stirring and zoning out. The internet, where I read an interview by John McPhee, a very funny McSweeneys piece, and a review of The Scottsboro Boys. I did the dishes which was fairly epic because everything was covered in chocolate after baking a cake yesterday. I tried to read Love and Theft but I fell asleep in the sun for about half an hour. I made a mixtape to translate to of songs I have become fond of over the past few months. I listened to an album in its entirety. Yes indeed, there is something to be said for a day in which you neither work nor socialize. Self-indulgence without self-improvement. Nothing extreme or remarkable. Letting the lazy contours of the day fold themselves around my stretched-out legs and quiet smile.